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Opinions of Friday, 11 September 2015

Columnist: Ayariga, Aminu Alhassan

Call for Amissah-Arthur to be retained misguided

Days after Vice-President, Dr. Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur picked nomination forms on behalf of President John Mahama, there has been several misreading into the second-most-powerful politician in the country standing instead of the President to pick presidential nomination forms at the NDC party head office.

While some may say, the President had strategically played to the game to reserve the excitement for the crowning moment, ether submission of nomination forms which by all indications turned-out flamboyant, other school of thoughts are of the opinion that, it is a clear indication that the President may retain the current vice-president amidst rumors that the party may need to change the Vice-President if there is any chance of winning the next elections with aplomb.

Giving credence to the latter are speculations that the Vice-President realizing himself as not cut out for the Vice-Presidency has tended to give a gracious bow come 2016. However, recent publications seeking to recommend the Vice –President for consideration to be retained are rather contrary to the disposition of the Veep himself and to the larger segment of the NDC partisans who have universally agreed that President Mahama owes the party an obligation to look far beyond 2016 and to nominate a running mate who is capable and competent to lead the party in the near future.

Arguments have been that despite his unconventional pedigree as an economist, Amissah Arthur has done very little, if at all anything to support President Mahama transform the Ghanaian economy. Ghana’s economic management team under Amissah Arthur’s management has been the weakest if not worst in the history of this country.

For the first time in the nation’s history, government’s economic management team doesn’t even hold meetings, a situation not even experienced during military regimes. It leaves much to be desired whether the Vice-President’s inability to hold economic management meetings is due to the struggle for control between the Veep and the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper. But can anyone fault Seth Terkper? Certainly no! When Amissah Arthur who is to be the second-most-powerful figure in this country is playing second fiddle to the Chief of Staff, why can’t the likes of Seth Terkper, Henry Wampah, Hannah Tetteh and even Omane Boamah feel more powerful than him.

Speculations are now rift that some youth of Ga-Adangbe are leading a crusade for Alfred Oko Vanderpuijee, the Mayor of Accra to be the running mate to John Mahama come 2016 and one may think where Ghana has gone wrong to continue rewarding mediocrity or ordinariness?

In any case, if Amissah Arthur is universally regarded as the worst Vice-President Ghana has ever had, wouldn’t it be better to scrap out the office of Vice-President than having Oko Vanderpuijee occupying such a high office and potentially leading the NDC into the 2020 elections? Is the NDC aware of her own history? Has Rawlings not replaced Kow Nkensen Arkaah in 1996 with John Attah Mills as running mate in order to win the 1996 elections? Has the party since then maintained a running mate? Did not Attah Mills used Martin A. B. K. Amidu in the 2000 elections but rather strangely went for Mohammed Mumuni for the 2004 presidential elections only to lose to John Kuffour again? Why did the late Mills dropped Alhaji Mumuni for John Mahama in 2008 as running mate?

Affable, handsomely charming and with exuberance, Mahama brought renewed energy, attracted rare appeal, and the NDC won the 2008 elections largely due to him.

As fate and the destiny of the NDC will have it, John Mahama unexpectedly will not be a running mate for the second time due to the ill-fated demise of the sitting President John Evans Attah Mills. There came the now Vice-President, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, to succeed MAHAMA as Vice-President and subsequent running mate for the 2012 elections which NDC won hands down.

If these analyses have anything to do with the destiny of the NDC, why then will some even consider the uninspiring Amissah-Arthur been retained as running mate when even Amissah Arthur himself has conceded it’s time to bow out?

It may not be fair to say these calls are out of ignorance of the history of the NDC but misguidedly guided. For the fact that not only are ordinary Ghanaians disappointed with the poor performance of Amissah Arthur but also are staunch NDC party followers fervent opposition to his choice as running mate.

Any attempt therefore, to shoehorn the lifeless Amissah Arthur again as running mate to Mahama will certainly spell doom for the party in 2016 regardless of the troubles in the opposition NPP. That is if results of the recently held District Assembly elections are anything to go by.

Once regarded as a technocrat with economic brilliance, Amissah Arthur’s confidence has been subdued by Dr. Muhammadu Bawumia who has so far gained cult status due to the ineffectiveness of Amissah Arthur who was actually shoehorned to the office of Vice-President as an economic policy czar and to help neutralize the wave at which the NPP’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election was running down the economic management style of government.

It is with this analysis that the call to retain the Vice- President and the audacious calls on the President to nominate Alfred Oko Vanderpuije are deemed dangerously hawkish. Either there are some suffering from collective amnesia to even consider such dreaded allusions.

As his own enemy, Amissah Arthur having served as Governor of the Bank of Ghana with relative distinction had a chance to lead the change process of economic growth of Ghana in a real way and he made it demonstrably worse. What has he done? Absolutely NOTHING apart from a fruitless Senchi National Economic Forum! He seems to want to plunge Ghana deeper in debt by feuding with the Finance Minister and the neglect of his constitutional duty to hold economic management meetings.

It's really sad some charlatans in the party even consider him for re-nomination. His counterpart Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has made Amissah Arthur look more lascivious than attractive, more creepy than convivial. Perhaps all this explains why some are calling for Oko Vanderpuije and Cocoa Board’s Stephen Opuni to replace the running mate. But, do we as a party have in mind life after John Mahama?

Could any of the Vandepuijes, Opunis and even Amissah Arthurs have the clout or attractiveness to compete with Alan Kyeremanten or even Muhammadu Bawumia in the 2020 elections? Let’s be serious for once else, the likes of George Boateng will lead the NDC into the 2020 elections.

Aminu Alhassan Ayariga
Zongo For Mahama (ZFM)